MONDAY, APRIL 30: A father-of-two admitted tricking a Jamaican man into giving him money to pay for immigration papers.

Joel Balfour, 42, appeared in Magistrates’ Court today where he admitted dishonestly obtaining $14,360 from Albert Ricketts between November 28 and April 10 with the intention of permanently depriving him by saying he was collecting money to carry out immigration and divorce proceedings.

Crown counsel Maria Sofianos told the court Balfour, 42, is a Trinidadian Canadian who works in IT and is a guest worker.

Mr Ricketts in a Jamaican who is employed at BTG Construction.

"The complainant met the defendant through a friend and he told him he could get divorce papers so that he could migrate to Canada.

“He said he had a friend, Patrick Ferguson, who was a lawyer and would charge $7,000 to sort out all paperwork.”

Ms Sofianos said the men met on November 28 and Mr Ricketts gave Balfour $1,800 to pay for divorce proceedings.

Balfour then went to Mr Ricketts’s house and told him the application for divorce proceedings was successful and he needed more money.

The complainant then gave him $1,000 more.

On December 9, Mr Ricketts gave Balfour $700.

Ms Sofianos said on January 225, Balfour went to the complainant’s home and said he needed $2,350 to finalise the papers and it would be the final payment.

Mr Ricketts gave him the money.

On February 23, Balfour called Mr Ricketts and told him the lawyer needed $1,500 more and he gave it to him.

Mr Ricketts gave Balfour an additional $2,400 to pay Mr Ferguson to sort out papers for his female friends in the Philippines.

Balfour then told Mr Rickets about an investment opportunity Mr Ferguson had which guaranteed great returns.

Ms Sofianos said the complainant gave Balfour $3,800 for the investment.

On March 11, Balfour told Mr Ricketts he was going to New York to check on the paperwork.

“While in New York, the defendant said he would call to find out what is happened.

“He said he would be back April 16.”

Mr Ricketts went to Balfour’s home on April 17 and was told his flight had been cancelled.

He then called the defendant but Balfour refused to take his calls.

Mr Ricketts went back the next day and Balfour told him he wasn’t able to get the papers but said Mr Ferguson would be coming to Bermuda.

By then, Mr Ricketts became suspicious and reported the matter to police.

Balfour was arrested and admitted the offence.

He also admitted Patrick Ferguson was fictitious. 

Addressing the court, Balfour said: “Your worship, first I would like to apologise to Mr Ricketts for causing him the stress I put him through.

“This is not something I am very proud of.

“I would love to be out of here and pay back every cent.”

Balfour said he wanted to continue working to make restitution.

He told the court he lives with his wife and two children.